Let’s chat about transformation pictures for a minute. 1 word I would use when thinking about the ever displayed facebook or instagram pictures of before and afters is inadequate. That’s how I feel immediately upon seeing one of them. I hate them. I hate them so much so that months ago I got off instagram altogether because it was too triggering for me to see these people who had lost weight and looked amazing. Amazing translates into happy and worth something and liked by people. For years and I mean years I dreamt about what my own before and after picture could look like. The side by side profiles of what I was and what I had become. I dreamt of all the rich comments I would get. Surely these comments would fuel me self-esteem and positive body image. While I have never actually created my own before and after – thank god – I have also been able to recognize that my own positive self-esteem and positive body image isn’t coming from comments on pictures from strangers. Its going to – hopefully one day – come from within.
A little history on my own poor body image. I recently told my story at a peer lead eating disorder recovery group in which I brought a picture of 9 year old me. I had been visiting my Aunt in Ontario and we were at the Toronto Metro Zoo. I can still remember the day like it was yesterday. I wanted to show that picture as part of my story because I could remember how I felt that day about my body. It’s one of my first distinct memories of feeling disgust in my own body. It was hot, I was eating ice cream, I had a crop top on under a pair of overall shorts – it was the 90’s, ok. As I at the ice cream I felt fat. I remember as a 9 year old kid thinking people are going to see my rolls. That feeling and memory has stuck with me all these years and I can recall the feelings I felt 21 years later.
Poor body image is something I believe I had since then. It has never gone away. I have never been satisfied with my body and in particular my stomach area. It’s always been the area that needed to be taken care of. The days that I have some of my most body dissatisfaction days are days when I have a lot of anxiety or something is going on and I’m not dealing with it. They, whoever they are, say that eating disorders and the behaviours are often symptoms of other deeper rooted issues. Which I know for me is true, but I’m not ready to delve into that quite yet. But what I will say is if I’m worried about something I said, or if I’m worried about my partner, of if I think I’m not good enough (99.9% of the time) I will deflect. I’m feeling inadequate translates into you need to get your ass moving to the gym, or to start up some diet asap oh and by the way your body is fat, gross, and disgusting. Then the problem becomes my body and nothing related to why I was actually stressed to begin with.
It’s interesting when you can sit back and actually watch that process unfold which often times now I can, not all the time though. It’s interesting to be able to say – oh here I am making it about my body again when it’s not related to my body. I hope one day I can stop that thinking right in its tracks and love my body for what it is and for all that it has provided me with. This morning this post was fuelled by a secret instagram session – but who am I being secretive about it with and who is the only person who will be dissatisfied after looking at, oh just little old me. I do still have facebook and often times the 2 accounts are linked so I’ll just have a little look which always turns into me seeking out the people who I know have “transformed”. It’s not good for me and I know that. If I was to find a positive in it all, I guess I would say I stopped. A half an hour didn’t turn into 2 hours of bouncing from one transformation to the next.
The only transformation I’m hoping for and striving for at this point happens on the inside and has nothing to do with the outside. One day at a time I hope to be able to move forward and start loving myself, as is, genuinely. It’s a work in progress.
Thanks for reading. ❤
PS – the featured image is of that 9 year old girl who can still only see the small roll on her side as her belly peaks through the sides of the overalls. So much more healing to do.